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Discussion Forum : News and Current Events : Center of Christianity moves to Africa

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 Center of Christianity moves to Africa

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If a clergyman's success is measured by the size of his flock, then Africa's priests stand to inherit the earth. Their congregations are growing faster than any since the earliest years of Christianity.

The pews of Africa's churches now hold 390 million worshippers – more than three times the total of 35 years ago. Over the next two decades, Africa's congregation is likely to grow by another 200 million, causing a huge shift in the character of the Christian faith.

Its heartland will move decisively southwards, away from the empty churches of Europe and into the developing world.

The Centre for the Study of Global Christianity, an American think-tank based in a Protestant seminary, is charting this transformation and its findings are dramatic. Already, its study of "World Christian Trends" shows that white Europeans and Americans account for only 43 per cent of the world's Christians.

None of this comes as any surprise to Africa's clergy, who are well used to conducting three-hour services before packed churches.

"We are seeing a shift from a Eurocentric base for the Christian churches to a more worldwide base, including Africa and South America," said Bishop Michael Coleman, the vice-president of the Roman Catholic Bishops' Conference of Southern Africa. "Already, there's a small movement sending African clergy to Europe to re-evangelise people there. The centre of gravity of Christianity is shifting to the south."


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